You just don’t understand it. He’s been fed, burped, and his diaper changed. So why is he wailing uncontrollably? You try gently rocking, shushing, soothing, even take a short spin around the block in the stroller – he is usually out like a light after a few seconds in that thing. No luck.
You are not a bad parent. It’s natural to be frustrated, and impatient – why can’t you understand why your baby is so unhappy. Why is he crying so much? Could it be something more serious. Should you call the doctor, take him to emergency? If only you could understand baby talk or baby BAWL in this case.
It just doesn’t make sense, he was happy, smiling, and cooing seemingly
seconds ago. What happened to make things go so wrong, so quickly?
Colic is defined by bouts of uncontrollable crying in a healthy and seemingly normal, well-fed infant under three months of age. The crying usually lasts for more than three hours a day and more than three days a week and continues for at least three weeks.
For many years, people thought of colic as a condition – some babies had it, others didn’t. But in recent years, research has shown that colic is simply a normal part of a baby’s growth and development. While it may be “normal” for the baby, it is anything but for the family.
Babies between 3 weeks to 8 weeks old are in the age range where their crying may be harder, and on the surface, impossible to stop. This age group is considered to be in the “peak” period of crying. These inexplicable episodes of crying will ease – that’s the good news. By the time your baby is 3-4 months old, the crying will subside. So how in the world will you survive the interim?
The piercing screams, the heavy breathing, the gulps for air, the heaving little chest. It is so difficult to watch such a small baby seem so unhappy.
Most experts agree, the best way to cope with colic is to let your baby soothe himself. Yes it’s much easier said than done. Here are some other ways to help calm your baby:
Check to see if you baby needs to be fed, requires a diaper change, is too warm or cold, or has a fever.
Pick up your baby and hold him closely.
Gently wrap or snuggly swaddle your baby in a soft blanket. This gives
them the sensation of being in the womb and has a naturally soothing effect on them.
Try some form of gentle motion – a stroller, walking with your baby or a placing him in a sling. A rocking or swaying movement also works.
Take him for a car ride. The rhythmic motion has a calming affect.
Turn off the lights. A dark environment, free of noise can help soothe.
Soft music and a gentle shushing noise can help relax your baby.
A sucking motion also helps babies calm down. Breastfeeding or a pacifier could do the trick.
A massage or warm bath.
You should call your doctor is your baby exhibits any of the following symptoms:
A fever, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Looks lethargic (tired).
Loss of appetite.
Suffers an injury as a result of a fall.
Does not sleep.
If you are concerned that you might be driven to hurt your baby.
Some doctors may suggest removal of cow’s milk from your baby’s diet as means of reducing the symptoms of colic. Ask your health care provider to be sure.
There’s no doubt that coping with colic is challenging – requiring stamina, patience and understanding. It can very easily drive you, your spouse or other family members crazy – in a short period of time. Make sure you take regular breaks to help you cope or have someone come and help you take a break.
The first few weeks of a baby’s life is much like being on a roller-coaster. The only difference is that the unpredictable highs and lows go hand-in-hand with a lack of sleep and fatigue. The ensuing anxiety and stress can be further exacerbated by the onset of colic. Rest assured that his crying will not last forever, that he along with his tiny lungs (!) are merely developing normally and that the crying will stop before you know it. Just make sure you equip yourself with all the tools you need to survive the oral onslaught.